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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Making your own vanilla extract is easy, cheap, and doesn’t require any special ingredients. All you need to do it is a vanilla bean, some vodka and a glass jar.

Here’s how to make your own vanilla extract:

– Slice a vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a sharp knife.

– Place the vanilla bean in an 8oz glass jar. Pour a bottle of vodka over the beans until they are completely submerged. Make sure you label this jar so that no one mistakenly drinks it!

-Shake the jar every day for two months.

This recipe is the easiest way to make your own vanilla extract at home. All you have to do is add vodka to the juice of two vanilla beans and leave it sitting at room temperature for a couple of weeks.

After that you have delicious homemade vanilla extract which you can use in everything! This homemade extract can be stored in a mason jar or bottle until you are ready to use it, but make sure not to expose it completely to sunlight or heat because this will cause your alcohol content level to rise and this could potentially burn your extract.

This recipe can make up to 1+ pint of extract.


2 vanilla beans (beans from one pod) 3 cups vodka 2-3 half pint mason jars or bottles


Step one:   Set up your workspace and get everything you will need ready. You will be using a mason jar or a vodka bottle to infuse the vanilla beans into the alcohol, so make sure you have those supplies ready.  If it is not a mason jar, you will have to find a way to secure the lid on tightly so that no air gets in once you add your vodka to infuse the alcohol into the beans.  I use a mason jar with the lid screwed on really tight.

Step two:   Add your vodka to the mason jar or bottle that you will be using to hold your vanilla beans.  It is always best to add vodka in small amounts so that you can control the rate of absorption by adding just enough so that it doesn’t go over fill causing air to get in between the beans and alcohol.  I used 3 cups of vodka for the amount of beans so if you have less or more beans, adjust accordingly.

Step three:   When you have added your vodka, set up a condition where it can be left undisturbed for at least 6 months but no more than 12 months.  I like to place mine in a cabinet where I keep all of my spices since it is dark enough that no light can get to it.  If you are using a mason jar I would screw on the lid really tightly and place it in a dark cabinet or cupboard for about 6 months.   After about 6 months or so you are ready to use your vanilla extract!

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It may take a little bit longer than 6 months but I promise it will be worth the wait!  This way you can have homemade vanilla extract on hand at any time and not have to worry about spending money buying new jars of vanilla each time you need some.

Inspired by Ina Garten’s large vat of homemade vanilla extract, I decided to start my own vanilla bean extract and see the difference for myself. According to Ina, homemade vanilla extract is better in quality and flavor. She started her vanilla extract when she married and it’s been going ever since. According to Ina, she adding vodka and replacing the vanilla bean as she goes.


For vanilla extract to be labeled as such, the FDA requires a minimum of 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans to a gallon of at least 35% alcohol to 65% water mixture. This diluted mixture is what is commonly sold at the grocery store.

Having said that, not much else is regulated so the beans can be inferior quality and other additives can be added such as sugar, corn syrup and stabilizers. The vanilla extract will begin to age during the production process.

After bottled and shipped it will continue to age and develop its bold flavor for two years, then it becomes stable indefinitely – even after opening, meaning vanilla extract does not expire. Vanilla flavor is made with glycerine or propylene glycol instead of alcohol, but it is still pure vanilla.

This is a great substitute for anyone who is looking for an alcohol-free option. Imitation vanilla is just that, an imitation. It contains synthetic flavors to imitate the natural flavors of the vanilla bean. In the U.S., imitations must be labeled as such. If you’ve ever purchased vanilla extract or vanilla flavor in Mexico, Central & South America, Caribbean or West Indies, you most likely purchased an imitation regardless of the what’s on the label.


Single-fold or 1X the concentration is the ratio of vanilla beans to liquid that is widely produced, sold and used. Double-fold is 2X the concentration and it is used by professionals. The higher the concentration of vanilla, the more expensive the extract. Homemade versions can have a higher concentration and most pure.

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So what do you need to make pure vanilla extract? You need vanilla beans and at least 80 proof alcohol. It can be vodka, bourbon or rum. Ina Garten uses 12 vanilla beans to one bottle of vodka.


I purchased a Kilner 18.5 ounce preserve bottle with a clip top jar for a tight seal at HomeGoods along with 2 packets of 10 Grade A Madagascar vanilla beans on Amazon. I always have Tito’s Handmade Vodka at home, in the freezer. I split the beans, packed them in the bottle and filled the bottle with vodka.

I sealed my jar and stored it in a cabinet at room temperature. At first you shake the bottle every other day, and after two weeks, you shake it once a week or so. I started my bottle November 8, 2020.

Ina says you can use it in as little as 8 weeks, but she recommends waiting 6 months. I’ll update the post when the 6 months come up, but I’m inclined to wait a year to use it. Christmas cookies here we come! Let’s see how deep the color becomes. At some point I’ll transfer my starter to a large Ball jar.

How do you know if Homemade vanilla extract is bad?

If the vanilla extract has gone bad, it will change from a dark brown color to a lighter brown. It will smell and taste funky. If you want to make Vanilla Extract at home, here is how:

Attach a Recipe Tag to your recipe using the featured photo. Use the photo as your recipe thumbnail in Crock Pot Recipes, as well as any other recipe pages that you would like. Create tags that are appropriate for each type of dish (chocolate smoothie bowls, hot cocoa with whip and marshmallows, etc.

Print Recipe 4.94 from 119 votes Homemade Vanilla Extract Making your own vanilla extract is so easy and you control the quality of the vanilla beans that go into it. Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 6 hrs Total Time 6 hrs 10 mins Servings: 1 bottle Calories: 172 kcal Author: Souper Chef Deb from Bowl Me Over Ingredients 10 Grade A Madagascar Vanilla Beans (You can use more if you have them)

3 cups Vodka I used Tito’s Handmade Vodka Instructions Split vanilla beans lengthwise and add to a large mason jar or bottle. Add vodka to completely cover beans, screw on lid tightly, shake well.

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How long does homemade extract last?

Homemade vanilla extract lasts indefinitely but will become more complex and flavorful over time. It is possible that vanilla extract can lose some of its flavor if exposed to light, so it is best to store in a dark cabinet or cupboard.

What else can homemade vanilla extract be used for?

Homemade vanilla extract can be used in:

Vanilla Bean Recipe (Use more)

Tutorail’s Homemade Vanilla Extracts Supplier: www.tutorail.com/Vanilla-extracts-Suppliers-943b4ed4ec502ff?p=6033 This sweet, creamy recipe is a must have in your kitchen cabinet. If you are like me, you enjoy making your own vanilla extract because you can control the quality of ingredients and it has a higher concentration than store bought extracts.

Homemade vanilla extract is great in coffee, hot chocolate, tea and other desserts like cakes and ice cream. You can also use a little vanilla extract to make homemade whipped cream – it’s amazing!

How long does homemade vanilla extract take?

It may take a little bit longer than 6 months but I promise it will be worth the wait! This way you can have homemade vanilla extract on hand at any time and not have to worry about spending money buying new jars of vanilla each time you need some. I’m planning to wait a year before I use mine. It will be one year in November 2017 when I started mine and it should be very flavorful by then.

How do you store homemade vanilla extract?

Once your homemade vanilla extract is finished, your best bet is to transfer it to a bottle and store it in a dark cabinet or cupboard. It keeps well for months stored this way. The cabinet or cupboard you keep it in should be away from any sunlight.

How do you use homemade vanilla extract?

You can use homemade vanilla extract in your favorite dessert recipes and even savory recipes. It is so versatile! You can also use it to make homemade whipped cream – it’s truly amazing! This homemade vanilla extract recipe is a sweet, creamy sauce that is the perfect addition to your favorite dessert recipes and desserts like cakes, brownies, cookies and ice cream.

Making your own vanilla extract is not as difficult as you might think. It can be time consuming, but definitely worth the effort. After all, homemade vanilla extract lasts longer and it has a much higher concentration than store bought extracts. However, you will have to wait 6 months before using it because it takes that long for all the alcohol to evaporate.